Wednesday, January 18, 2012

50,000 dumplings for Chinese New Year

Restaurant owner Chunlan Zhao has spent weeks preparing tasty treats for Chinese New Year.

Food stalls are a cutthroat business during festivities but she hopes her 50,000 dumplings will soothe people's cravings on Saturday.

It's Zhao's second year as a stallholder at the Auckland Chinese Community Centre's New Year market day at ASB Showgrounds and she is bringing back her dumplings by the dozens.

The north-east Chinese cuisine is a hit with ex-pats living in Auckland and a feature food of many Chinese celebrations.

The versatile dumplings are regarded as comfort fare in the cooler northern hemisphere winters.

They are traditionally eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

''The festival is not just about making money it's the fact that Kiwis are buying my dumplings and learning about Chinese culture that makes me really proud,'' Zhao says.

She has a team of seven staff making thousands of them each day in the lead-up to the festival.

The queen of dumplings was one of the first immigrants from China who came through the business migrant scheme.

Zhao spotted a gap in the market and has been running the Chinese King Dumpling Restaurant on New North Rd since 1999.

Her specialty dish is just one of hundreds of delicacies on show at the festival to help welcome the Year of the Dragon.

More than 200 stalls including food, arts and crafts, and community services will be offering a glimpse at all aspects of Chinese culture. Acrobatics, shadow puppet and songs, dance and music are also set to keep visitors entertained throughout the day.

The Chinese Community Centre has been running the new year celebrations for two decades and expects crowds of up to 20,000 people on Saturday.

''The dragon is an auspicious and very important symbol for Chinese, and the Year of Dragon is going to be a year that allows us to overcome challenges,'' chairman Arthur Loo says.

The Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day is a free community event at ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane, on January 21 from 9.30am to 4pm.

- © Fairfax NZ News HANNAH SPYKSMA Last updated 05:00 18/01/2012


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